Changes to Expect from the H-1B Visa Program This Year

Right before the 2018 holiday season, the US government announced its new H-1B visa application process. Tech companies rely heavily on the H-1B program to source overseas talent, so if your organization is planning on continuing the practice, it’s time to brush up on the changes.

A New H-1B Registration Process

On December 3, 2018, The Department of Homeland Security proposed new rules that would require employers to register H-1B candidates online two weeks before the April 1 deadline. At that time, submissions will be reviewed and only those who are accepted will be allowed to complete a full H-1B application. The new process will also favor candidates with advanced degrees. Individuals with master’s degrees or higher will have their registrations evaluated first, putting them at the head of the line for allocations.

The registration process is free, saving companies the hassle of paying the nearly $2500 filing fee for a full application. Fees will only be required if a registered candidate is accepted for the next steps.

This is how the new process will work: First, employers file an online form during the registration period. The start date is yet to be announced, but it ends two weeks before April 1. When enough registrations are entered, the government will randomly select the necessary number of applications to meet the 85,000 visas allocated for the year, and will give selected employers 60 days to submit their full application.

Applications will be reviewed based on the candidate’s educational level. It will first process 65,000 applications for those with a minimum of a master’s degree, and then process the remaining 20,000.

Goals And Criticisms Of The New H-1B Process

According to the current administration, the aim of the new program is to ensure that “the best and brightest” have the best chance of working in the US, but many companies are not happy with the changes. Many experts believe these changes have been rushed through, that they are unfair, and that companies have not been given enough information about the changes to ensure compliance.

Many people have also criticized the fact that the announcement was made right after Thanksgiving amid the year-end holiday season and only gave 30 days for public comment. However, some people are optimistic that the changes will actually fall through. The same process was proposed in 2011, but the rules were never finalized.

An Alternative to The H-1B Process

There is still much uncertainty and frustration when it comes to the H-1B process and its future, but employers must stay plugged in if they wish to hire H-1B workers.

If your firm is seeking high-level tech talent, it’s time to talk to the award-winning recruiting team at Talon. Contact us today to learn about our proven track record of success and to discover the ways we can help you achieve your tech recruiting goals, without relying on increasingly complex visa system.


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